Elegant, comfortable, confident: For more than four decades, the Volkswagen brand has had a true endurance standout with the Passat. Designed for both families and professionals who put in a lot of miles on the road, the all-rounder with 29 million units sold has become the most successful mid-size/company car in the world. Today the Passat is not only sold on every continent, it is also built in countless production facilities around the world, including here in Malaysia. Unique versions and variants have emerged in Europe, China and the US.
1973: Market launch
The Passat demonstrated its dynamic personality immediately after being launched in 1973. For, as designed by Italian car designer Giorgio Giugiaro, the first Passat was - with its two or four doors and large tailgate - a hatchback sedan more versatile than any Volkswagen that had come before. At the same time, the Passat was at 4.19 meters in length not only shorter than the current T-Roc, it was also impressively spacious - a trend that continued in 1974 with the even more spacious Passat Estate.
As time went by, the Passat continued to keep up with groundbreaking technological advancements in the automotive industry - from anti-lock brake systems to the intelligently networked assistance systems of recent times. The Passat GLi Estate introduced in 1979, for example, made automotive history as the first German sports station wagon. With the Passat W8 in 2001, Volkswagen revolutionized engine design. For the first time, the car's eight cylinders were no longer situated in a row but rather in two cylinder banks positioned side by side to save space.
Eight generations over more than four decades
Today, over eight model generations, the Passat has grown to a length of 4.88 meters. Thanks to its successful design of stylish elegance and dynamic power, it was awarded one of the most prestigious honors in the design world in 2015: the "iF gold award" in the category "product". The Passat's interior also impresses with its modern and stylish appointments - from the use of high-quality materials to the application of digital assistance systems and its roomy dimensions. All this makes for a comfortable long-distance vehicle. Today, both the Passat hatchback and the estate are available in versions featuring not only conventional combustion engines, but also plug-in hybrid drive systems5/6/7 that enable the Passat to function as an electrically powered zero-emission vehicle for short periods in primarily urban environments.
Here in Malaysia, The Passat was first introduced in 2006. A few years later in 2011, thanks to Volkswagen's partnership with DRB-Hicom, the seventh-generation Passat made history as the first Volkswagen vehicle to be assembled locally at DRB-Hicom's Pekan plant.
The Passat has also been a hit outside of Europe - the midsize hatchback, which is manufactured for the American market at the Chattanooga plant in Tennessee, was named "Best Car of the Year" in 2011. At the 2019 Detroit Motor Show, Volkswagen will present the second generation of the US version of the notchback models, which, unlike in Europe, are not produced using the Modular Transverse Toolkit (MQB), but rather are still based on the PQ46 platform of the first US version of the Passat. And in late 2018, a new version of the Passat was also announced in China.
Looking to cross the 30-million threshold in 2019
In late 2019, preparations to produce a new Passat in Europe will get underway at the Emden plant in northern Germany. The new Passat will feature new drive-system, light, assistance and infotainment technologies as well as a whole new level of online services. The first milestone along the way ahead: crossing the 30-million threshold. After the Golf (with 35 million units sold) and ahead of the Beetle (21.5 million sold), the Passat is one of the three most successful models in Volkswagen history.